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My Little House Design: June 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What I Want in My Next House

When I first contacted a realtor about buying a house her first questions to me was, "What are you looking for?" A simple enough question but I really struggled to come up with an answer. She suggested that I make a list of what I wanted in a home. After carefully consideration After five minutes I came up with this list:

- In a specific neighborhood (I had one in mind and it helped limit my search)
- One to two bedrooms
- Within my budget
- No major damage or repairs needed (I wasn't afraid of doing cosmetic repairs but I didn't want to get stuck with a crumbling foundation or something)
- A "safe" feeling street

Although I've made a lot of cosmetic changes, this house was basically move in ready.

That was it! I couldn't think of anything else. Honestly, I got really lucky with the house I bought. Not only have I had very few problem, I actually really like this house! But after living here for 18 months I have found that I could definitely make a more complete list of 'wants' for the next time I buy. So for the sake of my memory which is failing me more regularly, here is my current list for what I want in my next house (whenever that may be):

- interior trim that is white (I love that my house has the original trim but decorating with dark trim is challenging at times)
- fenced in yard (this is Bob's only request)
- front porch (I love sitting on my front porch)
- window or door to backyard (my current house only has one window to the back yard in the second bedroom, but I think it would be really nice to have windows and a door directly into the back yard)
- hardwood floors (I love hardwood floors! They are my absolute favorite floor of choice)
- driveway (Currently I have street parking which isn't the worst thing ever but it would be nice to have my own driveway)
- garage (a garage or carport would be nice too!)
- trees (I like older homes so yards with trees is usually standard but it's on the list anyway)
- large windows (My house has pretty great windows so I'd like to keep that feature)
- deck or patio (This isn't necessary but it would be fun to have a place to hang out in the backyard)

I'd like a functional driveway in the front yard and less of a beat up
cement pad in the backyard with no car access, because that's just silly.  
Have you thought about what you want in a house? I've always dreamed about houses but when I came time to actually buy one my mind went blank!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Blog Plans

Six months ago I gave an update on my blog plans, but I haven't said much about that since. So here it is, my big blog plan:

1) This month I will be only posting two times a week (Monday and Thursday at 11:30am) because I'll be traveling (details to come later!). Here is a very veiled hint as to where I will be traveling:

via Pinterest

2) This blog will be active up until July 18th when there may be an interruption in your access to the site. Why you may ask? Because I will attending the Haute Blog pop up workshop! I'm super excited to attend the workshop, but I'm even more excited to re-launch this blog with a new and improved design! The way this blog looks now is fine, just fine, but I've got lots of plans and I'm excited to make this blog look more like it does in my dreams. There may be an interruption in the service for a few days but trust me, it will be worth it!

via Haute Blog

3) Surprise, I actually like blogging! I started this blog when I first bought my house, but I did it privately. I didn't want to share it with anyone until I was sure I would keep it up. And for the first six months I only wrote five posts, but then I had a sort of revelation. Blogging is a sort of discipline. I couldn't just do it when I "felt" like it, I had to do it regularly to develop the habit. So I resolved to blog every day for one month... which didn't happen. But I did write 24 posts in two months and from then on the habit was established. I've tried to blog between 1-5 times per week since. Some weeks are harder than others to get the posts completed but I've tried to update my content as often as possible. When I only post once or twice a week it isn't because I don't want to but because I don't have time to. I'm a single woman so I don't have a lot of excuses when it comes to time management but recently have been working several jobs and making time for my blog is getting harder and harder so...

4) I'm going down to part-time at my current full-time job! I am super excited to be cutting back at my curent job. This blog can, in no way, support me but I have a lot of super exciting opportunities opening up to me and want to allow myself more time to work on the things I enjoy doing, namely this blog. So good news, I will have more time to do projects, to write posts, and in general be a better blogger.

Get excited!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Online Window Shopping: IKEA Part 2

... picking right up where we left off, here are more of my current favorites at IKEA:

Aztec prints are super trendy right now and like most trends there is no use dumping money into something that will be dated in two years. IKEA versions of trends are always a good idea. Available here for $149.00.

Curtains can be so hit or miss but I like these simple blue and white curtains. They have a sort of nautical vibe. The pair is available here for $14.99.

Trays are one of those weird decorative things that you don't really need but you can always find a place for. I like them on ottomans, side tables, and nightstands. Available here for $12.99.

I've been enamored by this large zebra print for several years now. You know I love bold graphic prints and the zebra is basically the original large graphic print. Available here for $39.99.

Botanical prints are also very trendy right now. You may be lucky enough to find a vintage one but it will seriously cost you. Why not buy this affordable IKEA version? Available here for $19.99.

Benches are very useful pieces of furniture. I love them at the end of beds and in entry ways. This clean and simple white one would look attractive anywhere. Available here for $79.99.

I love bookends. They are semi-functional and can be like jewelry for books. Available here for $4.99.

I'm not usually into frilly and feminine things but these lace candle holders are really sweet. Available here for $5.99.

I love this big swoopy white bowl. It has so much potential! Available here for $29.99. 

This mini greenhouse may be the most amazing thing I've ever seen... I mean, it is a mini greenhouse! Adorable! Available here for $19.99. 

This cheery striped towel makes me smile. And since doing dishes is pretty boring a smile can really go a long way. Available here for $2.99.

This black deck chair is pretty fabulous. I think I would feel quite fancy sitting in it. Available here for $119.00.

Oooo this grey wingback is soooo pretty. Available here for $279.00.

Does all this eye candy make you want to take a trip to IKEA? It sure makes me want to!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Online Window Shopping: IKEA Part 1

As much as I love IKEA, I haven't been to an actual IKEA store in over a year. The closest one to Indianapolis is in Cincinnati which is not close by. It is definitely a day trip plus you have to have the right vehicle to be able to bring home furniture. But despite the fact that I haven't been in a while doesn't mean that I don't online window shop at IKEA all the time.

I've previously listed out all of the things in my home from IKEA (it's actually still accurate even though it was written last August), so this is a list of the things I love from IKEA that I would buy if I had more money and space (and a big enough vehicle to bring it all back from Cincinnati).

Originally this was just going to be one post but I found that I liked way too much stuff so it became a two parter!

I have a great front porch and nicely sized back yard but I have yet to invest in any patio furniture. I like this classic wicker deck chair. Perhaps four of these chairs around a brightly colored round table would look nice? Available here for $34.99 each. 

I am one of those people who go through dish towels like candy. I use a new one like every day, mostly because I do not like soggy towels. For this reason, I am always on the look out for a cool new dish towel. Available here for $2.99. 

I only have curtains in my dining room but lately I've been considering them for my entry way window and even in my living room. I'm still on the fence but these subtle grey linen ones are lovely. The pair is available here for $49.99. 

Is this rug too crazy? I kind of love how crazy it is. I also love how super Swedish it is. Available here for $49.99. 

I'm not an artist but if I were I would want this rolling filing cabinet. I guess you wouldn't have to be an artist to use it but I can just imagine using it for large pencil drawings or something equally cool. Available here for $119.00. 

I actually have this lamp in the floor lamp size but I think the table lamp size is adorable. Available here for $29.99. 

Large graphic prints are definitely my thing so this bold striped throw is right up my alley. Available here for $19.99

My West Elm shower curtain is still my favorite but this simple black and white shower curtain is lovely too. Available here for $14.99. 

I am always on the lookout for a good light fixture because there are still several in my house that I would like to replace. I love the bold yet simple look of this light fixture. Available here for $69.99. 

This mod pendant is so delicious, I want to lick it. It is a massive and bold piece that would be a great statement piece in any home. Available here for $49.99.

I've been thinking about replacing the credenza in my dining room for a while now. Maybe this simple yet unique locker cabinet would be a nice upgrade? Available here for $99.00.

I'm not normally big on patterned curtains since they can look dated fast but these curtains may just be cool enough to change my mind. The pair is available here for $24.99. 

This light fixture is probably a little bold for most people but I think it is so cheery! It would look awesome in a bathroom or a closet. Available here for $14.99. 

I'll be back Thursday for Part 2!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yard Tools aka The Worst Things to Spend Money On

You know I bought a house which is an awesome thing to be able to do, but there are things I didn't know when I bought a house. Okay, let me rephrase that, there are things I didn't think about before I bought a house. How I would care for my yard was one of those things.

I bought my house in January so yard work was very far from my mind when I signed all my paperwork, but spring came soon enough and I found myself with an overgrown yard and no tools to care for it.

I started to research lawnmowers and checking craigslist for used ones, but nothing was catching my eye so I decided to buy a new one. After much internal debating I decided to buy an electric mower as opposed to a gas powered one. I make a lot of bad environmental choices (I drive an SUV), but I try to do my part in other ways like recycling so I figured buying an electric mower would be an easy way for me to be conscientious.

I decided to buy this one:

It is a Task Force 12-amp electric push mower (available for purchase here). It was $169 which was by far the most boring $169 I have ever spent. Despite how annoying it was to pay that much for something, I seriously love this mower. I don't particularly love mowing the grass but it's not that bad really, it just takes a lot of time. The reason I love this mower is because it is lightweight and easy for me to maneuver  The limit to using an electric mower is that you are literally tied down with a cord so this only works for smaller lawns. My lawn is about 4,000 square feet which is just about the perfect size to use an electric mower. 

I honestly don't remember how long the cord I got is, but I think it's like 100 ft or something. 

Once I got a lawnmower I felt empowered about what yard work I could accomplish so I got more yard tools!

The next item on my list was a weed wacker. I decided on this one:

It is a Toro 8" cordless trimmer (not sure what the 8" refers to... the length of the plastic string maybe?). It was $49.99 (available here) and it was the most boring $49.99 I've ever spent. But even though it was boring money to spend I do like this trimmer. It has a chargeable battery, so it's cordless which is very convenient. It may not be powerful enough for a guy but for me it is the perfect size and amount of power.

After I bought these two large and expensive tools I was tapped out but then after a few weeks I decided I needed a few more things.

It is probably overkill but I actually find it satisfying to sweep my porch and sidewalks after I mow. I feel old-timey. 

I do not rake up my grass clippings because that is insane. But I do use my rake a few times a year after I trim the front bushes. 

This is the trimmer I got a few weeks ago:

I wrote about it here. While it is helpful to an extent, this little trimmer was definitely not worth $49.99. I am still debating about whether or not I should return this tool, but for now I still have it. 

So those are all of the yard tools I had to buy. It was nearly $300 worth of merchandise that I totally didn't even budget for. Yikes! That is my big piece of advice for the day: If you are new to homeownership don't forget to budget for yard tools!

Do you feel the same way I do about buying yard tools?

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Decorating Resolutions

I don't typically do resolutions for the New Year mostly because I just don't. But the other day I was thinking to myself about resolving to change this or that about my house and I was like, Hey! I should make a resolutions list for my house. Since it's June I feel like it isn't too trendy to do resolutions so why not?

Here are few resolutions about my house:

1) Less than 3 IKEA items per room

IKEA Karlstad couch, IKEA Stockholm rug, and IKEA Vate floor lamp
I love IKEA. I sincerely wish there was one closer than three hours round trip but my house is pretty IKEA-ified at this point. Everyone knows IKEA furniture is poor/average quality but they have some really nice designs that as a freshly minted college graduate I flocked to. Now as a successful an employed late-twenty something I can afford to buy nicer furniture. Plus most people can recognize IKEA pieces so I don't want people coming into my house thinking it's an IKEA showroom (even though those showrooms are amazing). My resolution is to rely less on IKEA for every piece of furniture. Yes, they have cool designs at great prices but I want to mix it up a little. I think three large IKEA pieces per room is good balance for me. 

2) Stop being discontent with my progress

Sometimes I'll be sitting in my living room or dining room or just any room and all I can think about is what projects I want to get done. I get very frustrated that I don't have more time, money, and/or skills to get more projects done. But I don't want to do that anymore. I want to be content with the progress I have made and to just be in my house as it is right now. This is more of a discipline than a resolution but it is something I want to actively work on because I think it will make me happier person.

3) Stop stressing about dog hair and dust

Dude, I have a dog and he is messy. I'm a tidy person and my house usually really clean but my dog is a little hellion. Also, he's a hoarder. So my house is constantly covered in dog hair (he is black and white so when his hair comes out and mixes together it looks like grey hair so my house is always covered in grey hair which is somehow extra gross), muddy paw prints (even though I wipe his paws every time he comes inside), and dog bones nosed into corners where they are "buried". It really bothers me. But I also don't have the time or energy to clean up after him every day so my goal is clean up once a week and just let it be the rest of the week. I did choose to own an animal so I can't really expect him to live up to my human standards of cleanliness.

4) Accept that I make design mistakes

I make a lot of rash decisions. Maybe rash isn't the word, but I make quick decisions. I generally know what I want when I am making a design choice but sometimes I make the wrong choice. It happens! For example, I painted my bathroom three times before I landed on a color I like and wait for it... it was the original color of the bathroom before I even stared painting womp womp. Part of the beauty of interior design is that it can be changed easily and often. I'm learning to accept that just because I bought a piece of furniture doesn't mean I have to keep it for 10 years. If I decide after a year or even a day that I don't like something I can sell it or give it away and move on to the next thing and the world won't stop turning.

5) Don't overly accessorize

I love to go thrifting and to yard sales and to cool shops and it is easy for me to pick up little decorative items along the way. Because they are small and cheap I don't really think about if I need a mallard duck for $4 or a purple bubble gum machine for $7. I see something cool for a good price and I buy it. But I don't need 50 decorative items in my house. I "need" maybe 10-20. My resolution is to really question if I need that elephant planter or brass Nefirtiti, yes they are cool but do I really need them? Also, just because I have something cool doesn't mean it has to be sitting out. My dresser, faux sofa table, and dining room credenze are overloaded with items just because I have them. I need to declutter and start rotating items. I put a small box in my bedroom closet where I plan to keep decorative items that I will rotate out. It's a small box so I'm not keeping a ton of stuff put up away but this way I'll get to keep the items I really like and not feel like I'm living in a Hoarders episode.

What do you think? Are decorating resolutions something you think about while sitting on your couch? No, just me? Ah well.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug

A few months ago I found a sheepskin rug in my parent's garage and after gently questioning them about it's use I found that it wasn't being used and that I could have it - yay!

For the past few months it has been living in my bedroom in front of my nightstand. Despite coming from a garage it was in great condition.

Not sure why I made my bed such a backwards way, but anyway, the sheepskin looked really nice until Bob (I could end just about any sentence that way... until Bob). I had noticed in the past few months that Bob just loved to lay on that thing and chew up his toys. Which is totally fine with me except that all his hair started to get stuck in the fur of the rug which is confusing and then there were all these bits of chewed up dog toys stuck in the fur, plus some blue ink got on it and honestly don't know who is to blame for that. But all of that wasn't enough for me to actually bother to clean it (I would periodically shake it out and try to vacuum it but it wasn't very helpful) until Bob straight up threw up on it. I was like seriously Bob?! My entire house is hardwood and you choose to vomit on 3'x2' dry clean only sheepskin? Really? So it went directly into a trash bag to be dealt with later because dog vomit is nasty and ain't nobody got time to deal with that crap at 11:30pm on a work night. Later I took it out of the bag enough to check the tag which said dry clean only. Okay, that's annoying but I figured paying $15-20 to get the thing cleaned for me isn't the worst thing to ever happen. Except the dry cleaners said they wouldn't take it. Say what? Isn't that your job to dry clean dry clean items? I was annoyed. But it really need to get cleaned and the vomit had been on it for like a week at this point so I figured I couldn't hurt it worse by trying to clean it myself. Here is what it looked like pre-cleaning:

dog vomit (semi-censored because nobody wants to see dog vomit)

general filth

blue ink?

dog hair

After several google searches I came up with many different answers. I love the internet but sometimes too many opinions on how to do something can be confusing so I just decided to combine everything I read because I'm all about making good choices!

How to How I cleaned a sheepskin rug:

1) Shake it out

The less dirt and hair and other debris that you can remove pre-cleaning is in your best interest.

2) Give it a bath

I filled my tub with about six inches of cool water and then I added about three capfuls of baby shampoo.

(the wire brush comes in later)

While I was drawing a bubble bath for my sheepskin rug I couldn't help but think to myself, "This is such a first world problem."

The rest is pretty self explanatory... just move it around and bathed it. It was really gross and I got wet and I felt gross and sort of wanted to become a vegetarian afterwards because being that close to wet animal fur makes you reconsider all sorts of things about your life. 

3) Rinse and repeat

If I didn't mention this at the beginning you will get wet. So don't do this wearing a silk blouse and cardigan like I did because that's just not smart.

But yeah, you've got to rinse and rinse and rinse because animal fur apparently soaks up a lot of water and the water will be filthy and you will be super grossed out and you will totally have to clean your tub afterwards.

After you've rinse and squeezed as much water out of the rug as possible it will look life you have a dead labradoodle in your bathtub but be cool because you've got to get through this. 

4) Brush it out

At this point I am like what am I doing with my life???? I am brushing a rug that I just gave a bath, what has my life come too??? But you will get through it, I promise. You will be changed, but you will get through it.

I really wish I could suggest that you skip this step, but I think this might be the key to the success of this process. Brushing out the rug got out a lot of the debris lodged down deep inside the fur. It was also oddly satisfying. I felt like a kid playing with a doll's hair. Mostly because you can yank and pull and tear out the hair and your doll can't do anything about it (was I a sadistic child or is that normal?). I used the edge of the bathtub to help me as I brushed out my rug. I felt like I was in an animal version of Psycho wherein I am obsessed with caring for a dead animal because let's be honest that is exactly what a sheepskin rug basically is. 

5) Wait, because this sucker takes for. ever. to dry

I exaggerate a lot but when I tell you took this rug seven days for this rug to dry I am not kidding you. Seven. Days. Honestly, it's still a little damp. I wish I had a clothes line outside for it because I think that would have been faster. I even dried it in the dryer for 10 minutes but that made me nervous so I stopped. So basically you just have to wait.

But when you are done waiting your rug will be clean and you will have gone to a place deep inside of yourself and come out with a new appreciation for the rug that you have so intimately bathed and cared for.

 It is definitely a little more crimpy/curly than it was before but I think if I brushed it again it would look the same, but the crimpyness doesn't bother me. The washing part only took me about 45 minutes but it felt like forever since this was such a silly task. I really hope i don't have to wash it again any time soon. Bob, I hope that my angry words got through to you, DO NOT VOMIT ON MY SHEEPSKIN RUG.

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